Thu Jun 2 20:43:31 PDT 2011

slower than light


Arena TF2 on!

Sunday, June 5th! 6 PM, 18:00 o'clock PDT! 10PM EDT! Be there or be square!

Now for your regularly scheduled blog post:


I keep thinking about this in the shower, so here's hoping that doing a post on it will turn my mind to something more productive.

First off, naming. Calling it "a Starcraft clone with less clicking" will get old, and since I'm a sucker for theme naming, let's call it Slower Than Light. (viz.) The humans will be the Border Administration, the squishy aliens will be the Red Plague, and the glowy aliens will be the No. (Opposite of Yes. Insert your own Starship Trooper joke here.)

I wrote about the BA in the previous post, so I'll skip over them here. No, wait! I just thought of something.

The only humans on the battlefield are the ones inside the command buildings, controlling the units, right? So they're essentially pro gamers. It would be amusing if you hired real life pro gamers to voice them, like Idra, Flash, et al.

The Red Plague, as suggested by the name, is a microscopic bacteria that subverts larger species, rather than being a macroscopic animal itself. This would be bad news for the opposing factions if the BA didn't fight with robots, or if the No didn't have a... unique biology.

The No are a race of four-dimensional aliens from the core of the Milky Way, where things are considerably hotter and more exciting, and they are as far above the human race as we are above a basket of newborn kittens. If it was a real war; if the No considered humanity to be any kind of threat at all, then the extermination would take hours. Indeed, the No have ended several unaesthetic wars by exploding the local star.

But you don't prune a bonsai with a flamethrower, and most of the time when the No feel intervention is needed to guide the war to a more elegant state, they deploy small combat teams. Even when they're pulling their punches, they're awesomely powerful. The Red Plague fields a swarm, the Border Administration deploys armies, and the No sends individuals. Each No unit is a tiny core of exotic matter that reacts explosively on contact with normal matter, surrounded by vast bulwarks of force fields, which recharge quickly when not in combat, and encourage hit and run tactics, rather than the steady plodding of the BA tanks, or the overwhelming rushes of the Plague swarm.

The No "bases" are closer to sculpture parks than the litter strewn factories of the BA (Terran bases accumulate trash, and smelter fumes kill off nearby vegetation) or the "whale dropped from a great height" aesthetic of Red Plague hives.

The No buildings are attractive, (literal works of art) expensive, (most of the player's income will go into constructing them) temporary, (they slowly decay and fall apart, which is part of the aesthetic) and useless; since all units come through the gateway back to the homeworld, rather than be constructed by specialized buildings. Much like how web designers refuse to work in cities without at least two Apple stores, high-tier No units won't step foot on a planet without a twenty metre tall gold statue of Desiderius Erasmus.